Social Media Scams Increased in 2021, The Stats are Alarming

Key Takeaways
  • According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 95,000 people were scammed in 2021, totaling $770 million.
  • The majority of the successful scams were through romance, investment, and online shopping scams.
  • It is important to understand what types of scams are being pulled and how to prevent scammers from exploiting you in the future.
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According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 95,000 people were scammed in 2021, totaling $770 million. Throughout the year, many people fell for various scams, which resulted in the average victim losing $8,105 on average. As this number was staggeringly higher than last year, it is important to become aware of the different scams and how to prevent the possibility of this occurring. 


Types of Scams Being Pulled


According to the scam reports provided by the FTC, there were three main types of scams that these people were falling for; here’s how the scammers were successfully executing their plans. 


Romance Scams


One of the most common and successful scams that pulled was the romance scams, which would require the scammer to send a friend request on different social media accounts and establish a robust and close relationship with the person they wished to scam. Afterward, once they talked to the person for a while, they would ask them to send money to help them get out of financial difficulties.


However, once victims sent the money, the scammer would sever contact, leaving them in a worse financial situation. Thus, it is important not to display personal information that others may use to their advantage when on social media. 


Investment Scams


Secondly, according to reports by the FTC, another method used by scammers to exploit others was through persuading them to invest in faulty investments into crypto, leading to the scammer taking the money for themselves.


These scammers would reach out to potential victims regarding a crypto token and explain how they are guaranteed to make a profit. Once the victims were hooked and believed that the crypto investment would help them make money quickly, they would send the investment amount via crypto transaction. 


As crypto transactions are difficult to track, many victims of this particular scam could not retrieve their money.


Image Credit: david.costa.art / Shutterstock.com

Online Shopping Scams


Lastly, some scammers would advertise items on social media with a price that seemed too good to be true. Then, the victim would go onto the scammer’s website to order the product, only to never receive the product. Furthermore, as these websites did not have contact information like the large companies, it became difficult for the victims to contact someone to resolve their issue.


Image Credit: safriibrahim / Shutterstock.com


How to Protect Yourself


Many people were falling for these scams due to the excessive trust given to the person behind a screen. As a result, scammers started on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram to reach millions of people worldwide and maximize the chances of their scams working. 


These scammers are becoming smarter every day, and it is important to take certain precautions to ensure you do not get scammed; below are some ways you can lower the chances of getting scammed. 


Do Not Trust People You Meet on the Internet


One of the most common sayings is never to trust someone on the internet, and it is essential this saying is followed when scouring the web. Some scammers may try to pose as family members as a way to gain your trust and eventually exploit you. Therefore, if you receive a friend request from a family member that you do not know has social media, do not accept it immediately. Instead, wait until you have received confirmation from the family member themselves that this is indeed their account.  


Do Not Post Personal Data Online


Many scammers prey on those who upload their sensitive information, such as their phone number or email address, on internet sites to aid them with establishing access and ultimately scamming them. Then, they use these pieces of information to establish contact and perform one of the three common scams listed above.


Thus, to lower the chances of potentially becoming scammed online, keep all sensitive information to yourself and do not post it anywhere on social media.


Purchase Products From Trusted Websites


Lastly, it is essential to purchase products from websites that can be trusted, such as Walmart or Amazon. Unfortunately, some smaller businesses, especially those used by scammers, do not have any information regarding the time taken for each order, return, or exchange policy, making it much harder to hold them accountable should they take advantage.


However, when purchasing goods from trusted websites, they have protocols in place should an error occur regarding your order.   


Not everyone has good intentions, and it is essential to keep this in mind when using the internet. There are certain individuals who prey on those who trust others excessively and aim to exploit them for their money or other valuables. Thus, following the precautions listed above makes it harder for scammers to take advantage of you.


What are some other ways to prevent getting scammed? Let us know in the comments below. 


Main Image Credit: EugeneEdge / Shutterstock.com

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